#Smallbizchat LIVE is a monthly video chat where small business owners can get answers to their questions. The focus of #Smallbizchat LIVE is to end small business failure by helping participants succeed as your own boss. Please join us live every third Wednesday of the month from 8-9 pm ET Live on my SmallBizLady Facebook Page, YouTube Channel and LIVE on Twitter.
Burton Kelso @BurtonKelso is an entrepreneur, TV tech segment contributor, and the Chief Tech Expert at Integral. His vision is to remove the frustrations and complexity of computers and technology and open people up to a world of new ideas, experiences, and opportunities. He’s read all of the manuals. He loves helping people conquer their fears and frustrations with technology and he’s serious about making technology fun and exciting for everyone. For more information www.burtonkelso.com
SmallBizLady: With your workforce working remotely, what are some things they need to do to keep themselves safe and well?
Burton Kelso: Disinfecting computers and smart devices is key. The coronavirus can live on surfaces for up to 96 hours. CDC is informing everyone to wash their hands, but clean hands and dirty tech doesn’t add up. Smartphones especially need to be disinfected as they sometimes have more germs than your average public bathroom. If your workforce has access to products like PhoneSoap,(www.phonesoap.com) which use UV rays to kill flu germs, encourage them to disinfect their devices with that device. If they don’t, there is a wonderful product called Pure and Clean (www.pureandclean.us) which can kill flu viruses. You can always have them create a homemade disinfectant with 50% Water and 50% of 70% Isopropyl Alcohol. When disinfecting devices, make sure you let your cleaning solution sit on your devices no less than 4 minutes, before you wipe away the solution.
SmallBizLady: Should companies provide remote workforce devices or should they implement a BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) Policy?
Burton Kelso: When you provide tech devices for your employees, you minimize the risks of cybercrime and overall maintenance. But there is the expense of purchasing and insuring the devices. If you implement a BYOD policy, make sure you have your tech staff check out the devices to make sure they have the minimum specifications and verify there are no viruses on the device. Once you check out the devices, make sure it’s understood that if anything happens to your employee’s devices, that it’s their responsibility to maintain and repair them.
SmallBizLady: What are some of the other mishaps your employees should be aware of?
Burton Kelso: You just want to remind employees that whatever device they are using to work in your business that they only use for your business. I’ve seen many instances where the work computer is also used for the kids and the next thing you know the computer is ruined because the child downloaded something they weren’t supposed to which requires a tech support call.
SmallBizLady: What are the best collaboration tools to engage customers and employees?
Burton Kelso: For document creation Microsoft office 365 or Google docs. If you’re looking to interact face-to-face, I would have to go with zoom. Zoho also makes great collaboration tools for employees and customers.
SmallBizLady: Is there any special type of equipment your employees should have?
Burton Kelso: Most computers, smartphones, and tablets that are 4 years or newer should be able to handle and run all of the apps and software that most businesses use. Running the latest operating systems is important because it minimizes the risks of cybercrime. Windows users should be running Windows 10. Macintosh users should have Mojave or Catalina. Apple iOS users should be running iOS 13 and Android users should be running Android OS 10. Also, fast internet is very important. Your employee’s Internet should be running at 10MBps(Megabits per second. download.
SmallBizLady: How does the Internet factor with a remote workforce?
Burton Kelso: The Internet is probably one of the most important tools a small business uses, especially with many businesses using cloud-based applications. When considering a remote workforce, small businesses need to take into consideration where their workforce is. If they live in highly populated areas, then there won’t be any problems. If they live in rural areas, then you might run into problems as Internet in rural or even some urban areas is not as robust. If the majority of your workforce are in rural areas, you might have to reconsider a remote workforce and find other alternatives like providing mobile hot spots to them.
SmallBizLady: What tools can you use to test your Internet Speed?
Burton Kelso: Ookla’s Speedtest located at speedtest.net and can be used in any web browser is the best tool to use to have your employees check internet speed. If they are running below 10MBps, then they might experience some problems.
SmallBizLady: How should companies best handle tech support in the wake of the coronavirus?
Burton Kelso: Hopefully, you have a dedicated tech team for your company, but if you don’t now is the time. You want to work with a tech team that is responsive to your needs and the needs of your remote workforce. If your tech team has to send a technician to your office or to your remote employees’ home, make sure they are taking steps to minimize you and your employee’s risks to the coronavirus.
SmallBizLady: Should employees encrypt devices? How can data encryption keep your devices safe?
Burton Kelso: Absolutely, Data encryption is the ultimate protection to make sure the data that is on employee devices is secure. Data encryption is like that 5000 piece puzzle you have to assemble. It scrambles the data to prevent criminals from accessing your business data. Windows, Macintosh, smartphones, and tablets all have data encryption tools built-in. You just need to have your employees enable these features on their device.
SmallBizLady: What are your thoughts about VPN vs Remote Desktop?
Burton Kelso: VPN access to your company network will offer the most secure protection, but usually, that means your company needs to have access to a server or a VPN router. The same with Windows Remote Desktop. If you don’t have a server in your business and you need your workforce to access company computers. You can take advantage of LogMeIn, Teamviewer, or Google Remote Desktop.
SmallBizLady: How can a business keep safe from the cyber threats out there?
Burton Kelso: 99% of cybercrime requires user interaction. Educating your employees is key. Since most of the cyber threats that affect small businesses are socially engineered and are designed to trick people, it’s important you make sure you and your staff are aware of the different types of cybercrime that are targeted to small businesses. The more you and your employees know about cyber attacks and how to protect your data, the better off you’ll be.
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